Hailing from New York, painter Tony Curanaj carefully arranges objects in his studio and with a sensitive eye, renders them in the spirit of classical realism. Interested in recreating the living moment and atmosphere in which they were painted, he prefers to mix his own oil colors, which allows him to evoke the desired light source, mood and effects. Though his still lifes are mostly inanimate objects, there are hints of life in them throughout as in the daylight coming in through the studio windows, reflecting off of glazed pottery and vintage gumball machines, or in the cautious eye of a golden finch, who acknowledges the painter with his head cocked to one side.
The inclusion of creatures like the finch and butterflies are more than just pretty additions to the picture. They also hold some personal significance to the artist. Curanaj says, “Finches represent an individual’s activeness, freedom, health, insecurities and vulnerability… bees are pollinators so they represent family, life and reproduction… I wouldn’t argue with one calling them a self portrait.” In Curanaj’s latest series, “Echoes and Endeavors”, the artist challenged himself to render scenes with a heightened sense of hyper realism. A bright blue table set, firecrackers tacked against wooden backdrops, or a hooded figure waiting in a train yard, are all painted entirely from life. The series is currently showing at Joshua Liner Gallery in New York through December 19th, 2015.